Sleepover: The Hotel
A bed for the night in Miami
Sunday 16 May 2004
In the heart of South Beach, a block from Ocean Drive, on the bustling corner of 8th Street and Collins Avenue. Surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants, Lawrence Murray Dixon's inconspicuous art-deco building is one of the Historic Hotels of America (designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a non-profit organisation). The interior has been revamped by American high-society fashion-designer Todd Oldham, who has lent his colourful touch to everything from pillow-cases to door handles and bathrobes, giving the hotel a modern, funky style.
The Hotel - known as The Tiffany until the famous jeweller took it to task - has one of the few rooftop pools in Miami Beach, with a view of the ocean. You might feel intimidated by the bronzed beauties on the sunloungers, but a cocktail from the poolside bar should help you relax. If you're feeling decadent, opt for a massage in a cabana.
The comfort factor
We had no complaints about the king-size bed and mountains of cushions. The window seat with a view of the street was a nice touch. The hotel is good at practicalities, with dimmable lights, plenty of wardrobe space and lots of mirrors, the idea being that "you should be the decoration".
The colourful mosaic tiles look like something Gaudi might have created. Our bathroom had a huge shower (some have baths, too) and toiletries from The White Company. If you like the tie-dye robes, you can buy one in the gift shop.
The food and drink
A romantic meal in the hotel's award-winning restaurant, Wish, is a treat. The tropical setting of its palm-shaded terrace offers an atmosphere of calm away from the buzz of Ocean Drive. The indulgent and creative à la carte menu is described as American-Asian fusion cuisine. It is possible to eat by the pool until mid-evening if you can't drag yourself away from your sunbed. Three courses without wine for around $60 (£34) per head.
Staff are welcoming in that laid-back, Miami Beach way. What else would you expect from people wearing tie-dyed shirts? The hotel attracts all ages and kinds and gets its fair share of celebrities - Mick Jagger, Jon Bon Jovi and Cameron Diaz are fans of the restaurant.
Do like the beautiful people - lie by the pool. Or you could explore the shops of South Beach and hit the bars on Ocean Drive and beyond. And there's always people-watching on the beach.
Wheelchair access and specially modified rooms. No age restrictions.
Rates from $186 (£105) per night, including breakfast and a welcome cocktail.
The Hotel, 801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. (001 305 531 2222; www.thehotelofsouthbeach.com).
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